PLANS to ‘fast forward’ the solutions to climate change in Oxfordshire have been welcomed by politicians and activists.

On Thursday last week, Oxford Friends of the Earth published a report called ‘Fast Forward Oxfordshire’ which set out suggestions for tackling the climate crisis on a local level.

The report was divided into six areas of policy: housing and settlements, transport, work, energy, food, and nature.


For each area, there were suggestions of policies local and national government should adopt to make Oxfordshire a zero-carbon county by 2040.

This included an all-electric public transport system, reducing meat consumption, planting millions of trees and making sure new homes are as energy efficient as possible.

What do the council think?

Oxford Mail:

Tom Hayes of Oxford City Council

Tom Hayes, Oxford City Council’s cabinet member for the environment, welcomed the report.

He said: “I strongly welcome this facts-first report which gives the councils that I work with more of the solutions they need to meet the climate crisis.

“Some of the suggested policies will be challenging to implement, but if we’re serious about becoming a zero carbon county and enjoying cleaner transport, homes to be proud of, and greener spaces, they’re important.”

What have cyclists said?

Oxford Mail:

Alison Hill of Cyclox

Alison Hill of the Oxford cycling campaign group Cyclox said the report gave ‘an appealing picture of how we will get about in 2040’.

She added: “Cycling is a zero-carbon, non-polluting and healthy travel mode. Our ask is for comprehensive, continuous, safe and attractive cycle routes in and around the city.

“These should include quiet routes off the main roads, but also segregated cycle paths along all the main arterial and connector roads, out to towns and villages, so that everyone feels they can make cycling their transport of choice.”

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What do MPs think?

Oxford Mail:

Anneliese Dodds MP

Oxford East MP, Anneliese Dodds said she was proud of what was already being done in the city.

She added: “Nationally, Labour has committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2030, investing in green technologies.

“Change needs to happen on a local level, too, and current city council programmes are seeking to address the climate crisis by changing our approach to transport and emissions in the city, with new initiatives like the Connecting Oxford transport plan.”

Oxford Mail:

Layla Moran MP.

Oxford West and Abingdon MP, Layla Moran, said she would carefully read the report by Friends of the Earth Oxford.

She said: “We absolutely need to be doing more to tackle the climate emergency, and I’m proud that our community continues to lead the way on this issue.

“I have been campaigning for the electrification of the rail line between Didcot and Oxford since before I was the MP for our area. It has been delayed again and again. That’s simply not good enough.

“I completely agree that we need to eat less meat and dairy, but it has to be down to the producers to produce less. The Lib Dems would introduce a National Food Strategy to address our high consumption of food with a high environmental impact, and expand the sugar tax to milk-based drinks."

What the local bus company thinks

Phil Southall, Oxford Bus Company managing director, welcomed the 'vision' of the report.

He said: "We’re proud of our green credentials and remain committed to being at the forefront of leading the UK on delivering environmentally friendly transport. 

“The first ‘electric bus town’ funding of £50m recently announced at the Conservative Party Conference is an opportunity we are working on that may achieve zero emissions in the City Centre by 2030. 

"However, any match funding from operators will require commitments from local authority partners to take positive action to cut congestion to allow electric buses to deliver predictable journey times.

"We are working with key-stakeholders on this and will require their full support to take the opportunity.  

He added: “In practical terms range and affordability remain the key hurdles to overcome for full electric buses everywhere, but the technology is ever improving to allow zero emission travel in specific sensitive areas. If this can be resolved in the future it will be a significant game-changer for the shared ambition to make the city of Oxford a zero emission zone.”